Teens Making a Difference

“What I’ll carry with me is that it’s always good to do something giving.”

Cooper, Jake, Adrianna help out William M. Anderson Elementary

You might think a 12-year-old would need to be roped into volunteering. But not Cooper S. from Dallas, Texas! When Cooper got close to his Bar Mitzvah, he called his aunt Ashley to brainstorm. She suggested they join forces to bring shoes to kids through Shoes That Fit and he said yes, thinking it would be great to combine his love of kicks with the ability to provide shoes to kids in need.

Cooper sent a letter to family and friends. When his friends Jake and Adriana got it, they asked to join the effort with their own Bar and Bat Mitzvah projects. Together, the three collaborated to make a difference for kids in need!

kids at William Anderson try on their new shoes

On November 18th, they brought shoes to the first school, William M. Anderson Elementary on the southeast side of Dallas. 

“It was really special because we got to hand out the shoes to the kids and see how they reacted. They were happy and grateful to receive a new pair of shoes.” —Jake

Ashley shared one of her favorite moments from the shoe delivery:

“Cooper and I were helping kids try on the shoes. A lot of kids wanted to show them to their parents or grandparents before they wore them. It was rainy and muddy that day, and they didn’t want to get their new shoes dirty before showing them to their mom and dad.”

handing out new shoes!

The kids also helped kids at another school in February, for a total of 797 kids with new shoes! 

“What I’ll carry with me is that it’s always good to do something giving.” —Adrianna

Cooper encourages other kids to consider giving shoes as their service project:

“Do it and get your friends to do it. It makes it more fun and memorable.”

showing off new shoes!

Aunt Ashley has brought shoes to hundreds of kids during the last five years through Shoes That Fit, inspiring family and friends from her hometown of Dallas and her new home of New York. Cooper participated in Ashley's fundraising efforts in the past, and it motivated him to try it himself. Together, they emailed and texted friends and family to ask for their support. They did a presentation at their school’s Shabbat, and together they raised $21,000, enough to help not just one school, but two!

“Ally M., Summer O., and the University Liggett Peer Tutors decided to partner with Shoes that Fit after learning about students who did not have shoes that fit or even a pair of shoes they could wear to school.”

Ally and Summer

University Liggett School Ally M. and Summer O. worked with Kirsten Hibbs, support staff specialist and dean of ninth grade life, to create the Liggett Challenge.

What is the Liggett Challenge? Ally and Summer solicited donations of gift cards and items from local businesses for an opportunity drawing they nicknamed the Fish Bowl Raffle! They also created custom bracelets and set up a snack stand on campus. With the help of school leadership and their families, they also organized a dinner fundraiser hosted by local business Pepperoni Grille of Clair Shores.

Over the last two years, the Liggett Challenge has brought teachers, local businesses, and students together and raised nearly $16,000. These funds provided 521 pairs of shoes to students at Hamilton Academy in the Chandler Park Community of Detroit, Michigan.

We can't wait for year three of the Liggett Challenge!

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